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July 26, 2021, 10:09:45 PM

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Messages - moorman

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Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Branded to Kill (1967)
« on: February 26, 2019, 05:03:55 PM »
The good thing is that if you can digest Branded to Kill, there are going to be a lot of great Yakuza movies to watch:

Youth of the Beast (1963) The most traditional and coherent of the famous unofficial Suzuki trilogy, very digestible on a first view.

Tokyo Drifter (1966) Suzuki basically makes an insane musical but with brawls and gunfights instead of showtunes - though there are some tunes in this one.

For Suzuki, I'd also recommend Fighting Elegy (1966). It's not a Yakuza film but it has plenty of insanity and action.

Pale Flower (1964) - One of my ten or so favorite movies. It might be the first of the quiet hitman subgenre. The B&W visuals are gorgeous.

Sympathy for the Underdog (1971) Kinji Fukasaku was know for making bleak, violent no frills crime movies, but this one is a little more romantic or sympathetic (pun unintended) when addressing its leads - I think it's his best work and definitely one of the best Yakuza movies.

Yakuza Graveyard (1976)  Fukasaku's Battles Without Honor and Humanity aka Yakuza Papers series is more popular, but this imo is better, obviously more concise and is a great crash course into Fukasaku.

Black Tight Killers (1966) If you loved Tokyo Drifter, this is a good companion piece. The best of the (non Suzuki) colorful, goofy and insane Japanese crime movies.

These aren't Yakuza movies but Kurosawa's High and Low (1963) is a masterpiece and for my money his best movies. The Bad Sleep Well (1960) and Stray Dog (1949) are his other (then) contemporary crime movies/thrillers. He was definitely a master but the work of his period films can be a little grating due to the acting and customs. To me, Kurosawa's crime movies are the way to go, and at the very least, the best introduction to his work.

Thanx for the recommendations.  I'm trying to find Pale Flower and Youth of the Beast.  I will then try the others.  I TRIED to watch Tokyo Drifter and couldn't make it beyond the half way point.  I hated it something bad, lol.  Suzuki should have been fired for THAT one and not Branded to Kill, lol.   Gonna try and find these without having to purchase them first...

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Scorsese To Direct Another Gangster Epic
« on: February 25, 2019, 05:57:18 PM »
That was a waste of a trailer... :-[

Off-Topic Discussion / Branded to Kill (1967)
« on: February 25, 2019, 05:53:59 PM »
This is my FIRST Japanese film and my first Yakuza film.  I had a feeling this was gonna be gritty and it didn't disappoint in that  area.  My experience with the French gangster/noir films lead me to believe the Yakuza films would be gritter than the American films also.  Branded to Kill is a hitman film directed by Seijun Suzuki ( more on him later) with Joe Shishido starring as the hitman Goro Hanada.  The hitmen in Japan have a ranking system.  Hanado is ranked 4. Isao Tamagawa plays Michihiko Yabura, the Yakuza boss who hires Hanado to escort a client to a destination.  Hanado is joined by cab driver Gihei Kasuga ( Hiroshi Minami) who himself was a former hitman but lost his nerve on a mission and took to drinking.  He is trying to redeem himself with this mission.  The plot thens goes off in a few different directions which I will not divulge to afford spoilers.  I will say that the plot involves some well, DIFFERENT plot devices which can leave you confused.

Remember I said this was directed by Seijun Suzuki?   Suzuki was a contract director hired to make this film for Nikkatsu ( which I found out is the oldest Japanese film studio.)  Nikkatsu already had experience with Suzuki and found him to be eccentric and ordered him to make a straight gangster film.  Suzuki did the opposite and literally got fired for making the film which resulted in him later suing Nikkatsu and winning but was blacklisted in Japan for a while by the film industry.  Among the many things Suzuki employed in the film was a extensive use of Jump Cuts. If you are not paying attention you can lose track of whats going on.

This is the first film that I can look at and say that I agree with the studio for firing him.........THEN, at the same time I say they are wrong because the film is a masterpiece.  Its garbage and a masterpiece at the same time, if thats possible, lol.  Suzuki doesn't use storyboards and impliments most of his script ideas on the fly during filming.  He also encourages input from others.  It shows because the film looks like two or three different films meshed together.  The thing is, after a initial theatrical release in which the film bombed, big time, its now considered a cult classic and a masterpiece, influencing such directors as Quentin Tarantino and Jim Jarmusch.  I agree that its a masterpiece and is a must watch for fans of gangster films.

I rank it a shaky 9.5 out of 10...  It can be purchased from Criterion.  I screened it on Amazon Prime.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Blast Of Silence (1961) New York Tail Fin Noir
« on: February 21, 2019, 08:41:45 PM »
Received my Criterion copy today and wasted no time screening it.  I purchased this without even looking at a trailer because I knew it was gonna be good. It was.  I loved the on location filming in this.  I loved the plot. I loved the Jazz score.  I loved everything about it except the run time.  I felt it could have been longer.  Thats not a knock against the film.  Its a compliment.  I rate it a solid 9 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / La Haine (1995)
« on: February 17, 2019, 08:52:12 AM »
Vincent Cassell ( Vinz), Hubert Kounde', and Said Taghmaoui ( Said) are three youths in their early 20s living in a French banlieue ( housing project) in the suburbs of Paris.  Based on real life events,  the film follows 24 hours in the lives of the three youths.  The film is about class struggles in modern France and Paris in particular. The film opens with real footage of French riots from the early 90s time period.  Abdel (Abdel Ahmed Ghili) a friend of the three youths has been beaten by the police and is hospitalized in critical condition.  Vinz wants to seek revenge but Hubert tries to talk sense into him through out the film.  Said is more concerned with chasing women but goes along with his friends.  During the riots, one of the police officers loses his weapon.  Vinz finds it and threatens throughout the film to use it but is thwarted by Hubert.  I'm not gonna go further with the plot because of spoilers.

One of the main draws to the film is the on location filming in a actual banlieue in Paris.  Due to the controversial subject matter only the suburb of Chanteloupe-les-Vignes allowed the director (Matthieu Kassovitz) to film on location.  The soundtrack features contemporary and classic hip hop, soul and funk music which is another standout of the film.  The performances of the three lead characters was also exceptional in this film.  The choice by the director to film in black and white adds a beautiful classic look and feel to the film and enhances the timeless philosophy that is being expounded upon in the film.  I would be remiss to not mention the fabulous camera techniques used in the film by the director.  Pierre Aim was the cinematographer here.

This is a great production.  I felt the plot dragged in some areas, but if you stick with it the film will draw you back in when it wanders.  I give the film a solid 9.5 out of 10...

( I saw this on Amazon Prime)

good lists...

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: February 16, 2019, 09:44:49 AM »
>:(  Speak with me after class.

Anyways, the last movies I watched (I'm using the same thing as rrpower's scale):

The Leopard: 4 out of 5. I was expecting something magnificent after reading Peacemaker's opinion on it. This was very good, but it didn't blow me away. I thought it was magnificicent up until the scene where Claudia Cardinale* and the nephew are exploring their new "palace." Then I thought the film started to drag, and I had a sudden urge to go fly a kite. When we were rolling into the second hour I was quite exhausted. I would only give this a 3.5 out of 5 but I'm giving it some leeway because Peacemaker said that the last fifty minutes or so saved the film, and made him think  it was great, but my brother was sitting on the couch playing the guitar for most of that scene... singing the same John Lennon song over and over... "Heeeeeey, you got to hiiide your love awaaaaaay!!!"


I agree with the premise that The Conformist is great to look at but the plot is horrible...

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Wild Strawberries (1957)
« on: February 15, 2019, 08:44:21 PM »
Had this on my watch list for a while and finally got around to screening it.  This is my first Ingmar Bergman film so I had no preconceived notions about it.  First off.  The cinematography is breathtaking.  That alone gives the film a good score.  Next, I loved the characters that were in the film.  Especially the  three young people they picked up that needed a ride.  Now for the bad part.  The plot was good and bad.  Every real time scene was very good.  It was those flashbacks.  I didn't care for them one bit.  The philosophy didn't make sense either.   Another thing that I can see that would grind on people is the seriousness of most of the characters.  I could deal with it because it was balanced out by the younger three passengers in the car.  Lastly,  a lot of energy was put into making the professor be this hard cold individual,  but this character was built up thru testimony and not thru current actions on his part.  I felt a better film would have ditched most of the flashbacks and instead built his character up before the trip in real time.

Overall its not that bad of a film.  I rate it a 7.5 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Blast Of Silence (1961) New York Tail Fin Noir
« on: February 15, 2019, 04:43:03 PM »
I'm waiting on this from Criterion.  I missed out on their last run and said I wasn't going to do it again, lol.   I haven't seen it yet but I trust the reviews I have seen on it...

Other Films / Re: Clint Eastwood: The Mule
« on: February 15, 2019, 03:56:59 PM »
I recently saw Robert Redford's " The Old Man and the Gun " and it was probably worst than " The Mule".   It had more material to work with too but it wasn't well done.   I rate it a 5 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Post the movies you'd rate 10/10
« on: February 06, 2019, 02:09:16 PM »
some people give 10/10 to all "great" movies; some give 9.5/10 to "great" and 10/10 to "greatest of the great," and I think Groggy gives a max of 9/10 to every great movie with the exception of maybe the five greatest.

So, as long as we don't have a uniform rating system, threads like these are sometimes comparing apples to oranges and have endless debates about what ratings mean.

Anyway, IMO, the whole point of a rating is for the recommendation; if I am gonna follow someone's recommendation, I don't think I am any less likely to see the movie if it's 9/10 or 10/10 ... but 7/10 or 8/10 is a big difference (an 8/10 I'll make sure to see; a 7/10, maybe I'll catch if it happens to be on TCM). I've said in the past I am all for establishing a uniform rating system – possibly a uniform word system ("Great, Good Mediocre, etc.") rather than numbers – but I don't think anyone else is interested in that.

When I first got into these classic films I had a biased system toward not giving ANY film a 10 out of 10 because I didn't know enough about films to have a solid ground in which to base my ratings on.  Now that I have a good two years under my belt with classic film I feel confident in giving MORE films a 10 than I would have otherwise done two years ago.   

In my system, anything below a 6 isn't worth bothering. 6 to 7 is OK.  8 and above is MUST watch.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Night of the Hunter (1955)
« on: February 04, 2019, 05:14:54 PM »
CAHIERS DU CINÉMA currently has this film ranked number 2 in its list of 100 greatest films ever...  I have it ranked number 1 on my personal list...

Godard is the FIRST French director I do not like and feel is waaaaaaaaaaaaay overrated. 

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: January 27, 2019, 12:30:32 PM »
City Lights (1931)  Another masterpiece from Charlie Chaplin.  10 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: January 25, 2019, 09:57:30 PM »
Black KKKlansman (2018)   It was OK.  The problem I had with the movie was the premise itself.  One cop is on the phone undercover and another cop plays his part in person.  Based on a true story so thats how the plot had to go.   I rank it a 7 out of 10...

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